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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU: Veterans Show High Interest in Use of Technology for Healthcare

Veterans who receive care from the VA for mental health conditions have broad interest in using cell phones and computers for healthcare-related communications, but such efforts would have to be carefully tailored to patients, a new study co-authored by a Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researcher says.

In a study in the journal Telemedicine and e-Health, a team led by the VA Boston Healthcare System that includes Dr. Keith McInnes, a research assistant professor of health law, policy, and management at BUSPH and a researcher with the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial VA Medical Center, surveyed 74 patients treated for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other conditions at a local VA medical center to gauge their interest in using digital devices for healthcare communications, such as appointment and medication reminders.

The survey found there was “considerable interest” in communicating via computer in areas such as getting laboratory results (68 percent), reporting symptoms to providers (63 percent), and having providers message a patient to indicate how he or she was doing (61 percent). There also was interest among the veterans in receiving appointment and medication refill reminders (53 percent) via cell phones. Of least interest were video-related uses, such as video therapy.

“Broadly, these findings confirm the potential utility of enhancing mental healthcare through digital technologies, especially for patients in rural areas, housebound, or with other transportation barriers,” the authors said.

To read more about the study, go to: